Entries in Afghanistan (3)


Mike Brodsky

    Two weeks ago I wrote about the husband of one of my nieces having been shot in Afghanistan. Michael Brodsky (MA2) had in fact been critically wounded by an IED blast:

   "Late Saturday night (7 July 2012) in an undisclosed area of Afgahnistan Mike was on patrol. His unit started taking fire. He took his dog Jackson and put him back in the truck as he was trained to do, and then returned to the fight. It was then that he stepped on a pressure plate."

   In critical condition and unresponsive--Mike had lost both legs--he was flown to Germany where doctors tried to save him. On the morning of July seventeenth, he was awarded the Purple Heart.

   The following is from Chuck, who kept information flowing through Facebook while Mike was being treated in Germany:

   "Spoke with Papa Brodsky (Mike's father) about an 1 1/2 hours ago (July 18) and here is the latest: progress not a lot but there is progress. The doctors are attempting to transfer Mike to Landsthul, Germany. Hopefully Mike will be ready to be transferred to a hospital in Landsthul by the weekend. There Mike will undergo multiple surgeries. He is still absolutely in very critical condition. There are several injuries so we will avoid any specifics or speculations. He will Remain in ICU. This hospital will be able to tell when Mike is ready to travel to Bethesda. There is absolutely no time table for that upon arrival and sometime following Mike will be observed and evaluated on his condition. Papa Brodsky wants to ensure that you all know he is thankful to you. Please continue the support, prayers that you all have provided."

   On the 19th, Chuck made the following post: "Received a call from Papa Brodsky about an hour or so ago. Mike has been transported and arrived in Landsthul, Germany. He is still in very critical condition. Upon arrival went in for wound cleaning which is considered surgery. Mike is in the ICU. He will be followed up with observations and continue further examination and continue treatment for many injuries. Mom, Dad, and Cory are there with him and will be residing at the Fischer House near the hospital. Again thank you all for the continued support best wishes and prayers."

   Saturday, July 21st, two weeks after Mike was injured, the saddest of news came: "This is without the hardest post to make right now: To all: Just spoke to Papa Brodsky and Phil Hertz there is no easy way to say this we have lost MA2 Mike Brodsky. He was in incredibly bad condition the Doctors, Corpsmen, friends and family did everything possible. Mikey had a living will which clearly stated he did not want to be assisted to continue in the condition he was currently in and the condition that awaited him in the future. Please thank you all for the PRAYERS , Kind Words and ever appreciated support. As a request from the family no calls for at least a week while they get back to the greatest country in the world US Soil and are able to regain their bearings along with dealing with this tremendous loss. I know there will be an incredible amount of hurt after Phil and I hit the send button. We must stay together and continue to support for one another. To all thank for all the support that has been given and continued support will be valued and appreciated."

   Mike, you are missed by more people than you might have ever imagined. Tears have been shed on three continents on your behalf. Your smile still shines, your warmth still lingers in our hearts. Rest in peace.

   Micheal J. Brodsky was thirty-three years old.


Stupid Wars

   I just got word from my mother that the ex-husband of one of my many nieces was shot by enemy fire in Afghanistan. His leg had to be amputated, making him one of about two hundred soldiers who will sacrifice a limb this year to Operation Enduring Freedom. (In 2011, 240 deployed troops had to have at least an arm or a leg amputated, compared with 205 in 2007, the height of the surge in Iraq, according to data published by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. For more, go here)

   Even though their marriage ended in divorce four years later, I still liked "Mikey".

   A good-natured Jewish boy from a working class background who had joined the Navy after high school, Mikey was stationed at the base in Sasebo when my niece met him. (She had been living with me here in Fukuoka.) Barely half a year later the two of them were married and living together in Washington D.C. A year and a half later in the summer of 2007, their wedding, a sumptuous affair unlike anything I had ever experienced, was held in Beirut.

   As I was the only one on our side of the family who knew Mikey, and more importantly because no one on his side was willing to risk traveling to Lebanon at a time when car-bombings and assassinations were once again commonplace in the country, the duty of being best man fell on me. I was more than happy to fill in.

Better times: me (far left) and Mikey (middle) with a relative and the priest before the wedding   Although Mikey was in the Navy, ostensibly training police dogs, he was sent to Bahrain a few years ago. And that was the last I heard from him.†† I didn't know he was serving in Afghanistan, let alone in a combat situation. But then, what can we say we really know about what is going on in that god-forsaken country? It has become another stupid war, not worth fighting anymore. And who pays the price? Not the fucking politicians who got us into it, nor the companies that reaped fabulous profits from the invasion. No, the ones who are paying for the folly of Bush and his Neocoms are the soldiers who shouldn't have been sent there in the first place. 

    Good luck to you, Mikey. You're still family to me.


    For more on casualty figures for Afghanistan, go here.


    My latest post, Mike Brodsky, updates and corrects this information. 

    †† By then my neice and he had divorced. The last time I saw either of them was in Oregon in the summer of 2008.


Operation Tomodachi

   One of the better TV specials on the first year anniversary of the Tôhoku earthquake and tsunami Sunday spotlighted the massive disaster relief operation conducted by the U.S. Armed Forces known as Operation Tomodachi (Friend). Some 24,000 U.S. service members took part in the operation, which brought food and supplies to stranded communities as well as heavy equipment to help clean up the debris left by the tsunami. The relief effort, which cost $90 million and involved 189 aircraft and 24 naval ships, including the USS Ronald Reagan supercarrier and its battle group, earned American so much goodwill that six months on, 82% of Japanese, a record, said they had friendly feelings towards the United States. Why, it even made me feel proud to be an American for once.

   Now, compare that with Sunday’s murder of sixteen Afghan civilians at the hands of, we are told, a single 38-year-old American staff sergeant. As if the situation in Afghanistan weren’t already bad enough, this senseless crime will only serve to sow more seeds of hatred in that country’s rich soil of antipathy for the U.S. And Americans wondered after 9/11 why they were so hated.

   Here’s a wild idea: let’s pull the military out of Afghanistan. If Karzai can’t survive without us, why, he should stop pretending to be the country’s president. And rather than drop bombs on people, let’s start dropping relief packages with food and clothing, toys and books for the kids, tools and equipment for farmers.

   End the wars, begin Operation トモダチ, Operation Friend, Operation Amigo, Operation نَصير, Operation ملګرى , Operation 朋友, Operation 친구, Operation دوست. . . If anything, it’ll be hell of a lot cheaper than the $510 trillion and counting we’ve already blown on that one country alone.